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Ruru Lawn Cemetery, Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand

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Ruru Lawn Cemetery opened in 1941 and although approaching capacity it is still open for casket and ash burials.

Ballantyne’s Fire Memorial is part of the Ruru Lawn Cemetery.

Ballantyne Memorial Rose Garden

Ballantyne’s department store in Colombo Street was the scene of one of New Zealand's most disastrous fires late in the afternoon of 18 November 1947. A total of 41 people died and damage was put at half a million pounds. The fire was first discovered in the basement of the wooden building but the alarm was not given immediately. The actual time the alarm was received by the fire brigade was 3.46pm. Onlookers say that within 15 minutes of their first noticing the black smoke billowing from the building, it was past saving. Of three shop girls who jumped after being trapped on upper storeys of the three-storey building, one died and two were seriously injured.

A Royal Commission of Inquiry - which later sat for 65 days and heard 186 witnesses - criticised the firefighters for failure to take effective action in the first 10 minutes after their arrival because they did not recognise the potential danger.

The company's store, established in 1864, was one of the best known in New Zealand. The premises covered about an acre of ground. All those who died were members of the staff of about 300.

The Ballantyne Memorial Rose Garden is a semi-circular rose garden with a stone and timber pergola at the head. Each rose has a bronze marker with the name of a person who lost their life in the Ballantynes Fire of 1947.

The pergola, which has plaques depicting the victims' names, collapsed in the earthquake on February 22, 2011.

Those that died during the Ballantyne's Fire 1947

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